Safely preparing baby bottles and feeding equipment

Babies can be susceptible to infections because their immune systems are still developing. Find out how to prepare formula and expressed breast milk correctly to minimise the growth of harmful bacteria.

Know what you need to do

To keep your baby safe, all feeding equipment including bottles, teats and formula scoops, must be properly washed and rinsed. If your baby is less than 3 months old, you will also need to sterilise feeding equipment.

Cleaning feeding equipment properly reduces the risk of contamination to expressed breast milk or infant formula.

Cleaning baby bottles and feeding equipment

  1. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water and dry them well on a clean towel.
  2. Make sure the area you'll be working in is clean.
  3. Wash bottles and feeding equipment thoroughly in hot soapy water. Use clean bottle and teat brushes to scrub the inside and outside of bottles and teats. Make sure any traces of milk or formula are cleaned off.
  4. Rinse the bottles and feeding equipment well in hot water. Leave them to air dry, or else wash in a dishwasher.

Remember, dishwashers alone do not sterilise bottles or feeding equipment.

Sterilising baby feeding equipment

If your baby is less than 3 months old, you must sterilise their bottles and feeding equipment.

How to sterilise by boiling

  1. Put the bottles, feeding equipment and preparation utensils in a pot. If using glass bottles, put a clean cloth in the bottom of the pot to help prevent chipping.
  2. Fill the pot with water. The water level should be high enough to cover all the feeding equipment.
  3. Bring the water to boil, then turn off the element. Keep the pot covered until you need the bottles or feeding equipment.
  4. Use clean tongs to lift out the feeding equipment. Place on a clean dry surface.
  5. If you aren't using the feeding equipment straight away, cover and store in a clean place. Bottles should be stored with the teat upside-down in the bottle, or else cover the teat with the sterile cap.

Other sterilisation methods

Bottles and feeding equipment can also be sterilised using:

  • microwave steam-sterilising units (not suitable for glass bottles)
  • steam sterilisers
  • chemical sterilising solutions.

If you're using one of these sterilisation methods, follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.

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